Was Austria-Hungary behind the May Coup of 1903


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
So, May Coup of 1903 led to the deaths of king Aleksandar Obrenović of Serbia and Queen Draga Mašin, the end of the Obrenović dynasty and the return of the Karađorđević dynasty. The May Coup is usually seen as a start of a pro-Russian path for Serbia, but how accurate is that description? King Aleksandar wasn't really pro-Austrian, in fact he sought to develop ties with Russia, and in 1901-02 relations between Belgrade and Vienna worsened due to the ongoing Kolašin affair that saw several attacks on Serbs in Kosovo Vilayet and eventually led to the opening of Russian consulate in Mitrovica.

Now, onto the coup itself. It's worth noting that in March 1903 A-H Finance Minister Beni Kallay told the foreign correspondent of The Times, Wickham Steed, that king Aleksandar may only have weeks to live. When Steed later mentioned this to Kallay after the coup, the minister only told Steed that Aleksandar had been doomed anyway and that A-H could reach an agreement with the new king, Peter I. A prominent Austrian newspaper Fremden-blatt was oddly cold towards the death of a royal and his wife, and came under attack by other Austrian newspapers for this attitude. Fremden-blatt was connected to the Austro-Hungarian government and count Goluchowski even went as far as to say that the A-H stance towards the coup was laid out in the Fremden-blatt.

We also know that the conspirators met with Jaša Nenadović, the head of Karađorđević propaganda in Vienna, and later after the coup Nenadović would pursue an Austrophile policy, as evidenced by his wish to buy Austrian weapons during the Gun Question. Wickham Steed would go on to claim that A-H government definitely knew about the coup, and we must take into account that Vienna wanted to prevent a Russian prince for coming to the Serbian throne.

So, my question is: was A-H behind it all? Were the Austro-Hungarians mere observers who just adapted as the situation progressed or were they more connected to the conspiracy itself?

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Having just finished reading Clark's The Sleepwalkers, I doubt it very much.

But I'd be glad to consider any actual evidence you have.

BTW--quite a story!